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Fire safety, at its most basic, is based upon the principle of keeping fuel sources and ignition sources separate.
Three things must be present at the same time to produce fire: 1. Enough Oxygen to sustain combustion 2. Enough Heat to reach ignition temperature 3. Some Fuel or combustible material Together, they produce the chemical reaction that is fire. Take away any of these things and the fire will be extinguished. FUEL CLASSIFICATIONS Fires are classified according to the type of fuel that is burning. If you use the wrong type of extinguisher on the wrong class of fire, you might make matters worse. It is very important to understand the four different fire (fuel) classifications: Class A: Wood, paper, cloth, trash, plastics—solids that are not metals. Class B: Flammable liquids—gasoline, oil, grease, acetone. Includes flammable gases. Class C: Electrical—energized electrical equipment. As long as it is “plugged in.”
Fire Extinguisher Training Class D: Metals—potassium. For example. Water (APW) Large. make sure the electrical equipment is unplugged or de-energized. Most fire extinguishers will have a pictograph label telling you which types of fire the extinguisher is designed to fight. and other special extinguishing agents. paper. sodium. APW’s extinguish fire by taking away the “Heat” element of the Fire Triangle. magnesium. APW stands for “Air-Pressurized Water. Requires Metal-X. a simple water extinguisher might have a label like this. silver fire extinguishers that stand about 2 feet tall and weigh about 25 pounds when full. they are essentially large squirt guns. cloth. TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS Different types of fire extinguishers are designed to fight different classes of fire. APW’s are designed for Class A fires only: Wood.” Filled with ordinary tap water and pressurized air. The three most common types of fire extinguishers are: 1. which means it should only be used on Class A fires. Oklahoma State University Page 2 . Here are a couple of reasons you need to be careful about which extinguisher you use: Using water on a flammable liquid fire could cause the fire to spread. Using water on an electrical fire increases the risk of electrocution. foam. aluminum. If you have no choice but to use an APW on an electrical fire.
kitchens. however. CO2 is very cold as it comes out of the extinguisher. as well as in residence halls on campus.Fire Extinguisher Training APW’s will be found in older buildings. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) The pressure in a CO2 extinguisher is so great. that computer equipment must be disconnected from its electrical source before using a water extinguisher on it. Carbon dioxide is a non-flammable gas that takes away the oxygen element of the Fire Triangle. In accordance with NFPA regulations (and manufacturers’ recommendations) all CO2 extinguishers at OSU undergo hydrostatic testing and recharge every five years. bits of dry ice might shoot out of the horn! CO2 cylinders are red. Class A materials may also smolder and re-ignite. the horn will be at the end of a long. flexible hose. A CO2 may not be very effective in extinguishing a Class A fire because it may not be able to displace enough oxygen to successfully put the fire out. On larger sizes. mechanical rooms. 2. particularly in public hallways. CO2’s are designed for Class B and C (flammable liquids and electrical sources) fires only! CO2’s will frequently be found in laboratories. so it cools the fuel as well. and flammable liquid storage areas. They range in size from 5 pounds to 100 pounds or larger. They will also be found in computer laboratories. It is important to remember. Oklahoma State University Page 3 .
The extinguishers are pressurized with nitrogen. University vehicles. chemical storage areas. or C fires) BC (designed for use on Class B and C fires) It is extremely important to identify which types of dry chemical fire extinguishers are located in your area! An “ABC” extinguisher will have a label like this. they range in size from five pounds to 20 pounds. The powder also works to interrupt the chemical reaction of fire. Dry Chemical (ABC.Fire Extinguisher Training 3. break rooms. in laboratories. ABC extinguishers are filled with a fine. This separates the fuel from the oxygen in the air. On campus. Dry chemical extinguishers with powder designed for Class B and C fires (“BC” extinguishers) may be located in places such as commercial kitchens and areas with flammable liquids. Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types. BC. DC) ABC extinguishers are red. You don’t want to mistakenly use a “BC” extinguisher on a Class A fire thinking that it was an “ABC” extinguisher. indicating it may be used on Class A. B. B. This powder is mostly composed of monoammonium phosphate. offices. These extinguishers are very effective at putting out fire. and C fires. Oklahoma State University Page 4 . mechanical rooms. You may see them labeled: DC (for dry chemical) ABC (can be used on Class A. On campus you will find ABC’s in public hallways of new buildings. etc. On the OSU campus. yellow powder. Dry chemical extinguishers put out fire by coating the fuel with a thin layer of dust.
Oklahoma State University Page 5 . “PASS. Once the fire is out. Aim at the base of the fire Hit the fuel…if you aim at the flames. Squeeze the top handle This depresses a button that releases the pressurized extinguishing agent. the extinguishing agent will pass right through and do no good. keep an eye on the area in case it re-ignites.Fire Extinguisher Training HOW TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER It is easy to remember how to use a fire extinguisher if you remember the acronym. Start using the extinguisher from a safe distance away and then slowly move forward.” Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep Pull the pin This will allow you to discharge the extinguisher. Sweep from side-to-side until the fire is completely out.
1.Fire Extinguisher Training RULES FOR FIGHTING FIRES Fires can be very dangerous and you should always be certain that you will not endanger yourself or others when attempting to put out a fire. Assist any person in immediate danger to safety. or at least have a pretty good idea. it is best to simply evacuate the building. Oklahoma State University Page 6 . close doors and windows behind you as you leave. Call 911 or activate the building fire alarm. If the fire is already spreading quickly. Even if you have an ABC fire extinguisher. when a fire is discovered. Is the fire spreading rapidly beyond the point where it started? The time to use an extinguisher is at the beginning stages of the fire. let the fire department handle it. Chances are you will know what is burning. This will help to slow the spread of smoke and fire. but if you don’t. there might be something in the fire that is going to explode or produce toxic fumes. you may attempt to use an extinguisher to put it out. If the fire is small (and Only after having done these two things). keep these things in mind: Know what is burning. before deciding to fight the fire. For this reason. you won’t know what kind of extinguisher to use. However. The fire alarm will notify the fire department as well as other building occupants and shut off the air handling system to prevent the spread of smoke. As you evacuate a building. If you don’t know what is burning. 2. if it can be accomplished without risk to yourself.
they can produce hydrogen cyanide. Your instincts tell you not to. and ammonia in addition to carbon monoxide. In case the extinguisher malfunctions. If you don’t have the correct type or large enough extinguisher. or something unexpected happens. You don’t want to become trapped. it is best not to try fighting the fire. If you are uncomfortable with the situation for any reason. When synthetic materials such as the nylon in carpeting or foam padding in a sofa burn. You might inhale toxic smoke. These gases can be fatal in very small amounts. just let the fire department do their job.Fire Extinguisher Training Do not fight the fire if: You don’t have adequate or appropriate equipment. acrolein. Oklahoma State University Page 7 . you need to be able to get out quickly. The final rule is to always position yourself with an exit or means of escape at your back before you attempt to use an extinguisher to put out a fire.
hot plate c. False 9. a heat source. Cardboard. and fuel b. An example of two “Class B” fuels would be: a. B and C c. True b. oxygen. True b. No Oklahoma State University Page 8 . a. False 7. you should not attempt to fight a fire if it is spreading rapidly.Fire Extinguisher Training FIRE EXTINGUISHER TRAINING QUIZ 1. and fuel c. False 3. fuel. Lamp. CO2 (carbon dioxide) c. An APW (water extinguisher) is safe to use on an electrical fire. The three elements of the fire triangle are: a. Class B and C b. a. Class A. Water. Water will not extinguish most flammable liquid fires. and earth 10. False 8. a. Fuel. Oxygen. ABC fire extinguishers extinguish fire by cooling it down. a. True b. Which type of extinguisher has a hard horn on the end of a flexible hose or metal arm? a. a. Class A and B 4. newspapers b. Oxygen. paint thinner 2. True b. Do you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is in your work area? a. False 6. True b. APW (air-pressurized water) b. water. ABC (dry chemical) 5. Yes b. You should always keep an exit or means of escape at your back when trying to fight a fire. Carbon Dioxide extinguishers are designed for which types of fuels? a. and a heat source d. As a general rule. Grease. Class A and C d.
7. 4. 3. 6. 9. C B A B A B A A C A Oklahoma State University Page 9 . 2. 5. 8. 10.Fire Extinguisher Training Answers 1.
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